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What is User Experience (UX)? It’s not just a fancy way of describing your latest greatest web page design…
Last summer, while in Washington DC for Adaptive Path UXWeek, I hailed a taxi. Not just any taxi, as it turned out, but an old Oldsmobile, just like the one my Grandpa Morris had when I was just a little girl.
My notes at the moment:
The quilted vinyl seats, the width of the bench, the low headrests of the front split-bench seats. The power window controls and the little noise they make. The sound of the air conditioner, of the gear shift… It’s like traveling back in time.
The sliders for the AC that aren’t sliders but arcing switches, the shape of the back windows. It’s incredible how extensive and redolent the design vocabulary of the car is. It’s spoken by the door locks, the handle grips, the ceiling fabric, the horizontal speedometer, the seatbelt buckle. Every single element was designed, and reveals it’s common source/culture.
I am transported (in more ways than one) and astonished, as well. It’s like getting a flood of memory from an olfactory stimulus… but visually.
That is what User Experience means. That is its power.
User Experience is the interaction, the interface, the feel, the sound, the smell, the brand, the advertising, sales attitude, the customer service, the subliminal associations. And yes, the visual effect and (hopefully) lack of frustration. Experience is a result of everything, and it is also the core, the goal, the hinge of everything.
Now you understand why one of my personal mottos is:
Experience is Everything.